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Edward Bell - Senior Director, Market Economics
Published Date: 12 July 2023
The UAE has released a third update to its Nationally Determined Contribution, a climate action plan that countries that have signed up to the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change must report. The UAE will now cut its emissions from a business-as-usual scenario by 40% compared with a previous target of 30% which itself was an upgrade from the initial 23.5% emissions reduction. According to government estimates, the new target will result in a drop in net emissions to 182m tonnes of CO2eq in 2030 from 208m tonnes CO2eq previously.
According to a statement from WAM “all domestic sectors…will collectively reduce emissions as per specific sectoral targets.” Utilities, industry, transport and agriculture have been specifically targeted for emissions reductions which means sectors in focus for the greater diversification of the economy away from oil and gas will need to develop on a more sustainable path.
The announcement of a new emissions goal follows from the release of a new energy strategy for the UAE released earlier this month. The UAE aims to triple the contribution of renewables in its energy mix by 2030 likely through substantial investments into adding solar capacity as well as developing the country’s grid and related infrastructure. Renewables accounted for around 9% of the total installed power capacity in Abu Dhabi and Dubai with both emirates having expansion plans already underway: the Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum solar park in the UAE has a planned capacity of 5,000 MW by 2030 while the 1.5 GW Al Dhafra PV site is under development in Abu Dhabi and the Al Ajban 1.5 GW PV site is set to be awarded to developers by end of the year.
The UAE committed to a net zero emissions target by 2050 and focus on environmental targets will be heightened as the country hosts COP 28 later this year. The structure of the economy’s electricity sectors allows for considerable expansion of solar capacity while emissions targets for specific sectors should have a more meaningful impact in improving the country’s energy and carbon efficiency.
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